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Savor the non-holidayness, too

As you start this week, possibly looking into a tunnel called A Busy Holiday Week, may you find the courage to enjoy the everyday little bits that aren’t, in fact, holiday at all. May you relish the regular, and be brave enough to call is just as sacred as the twinkle lights and the nativity scene on the shelf.

For some reason this year, I’m finding it hard to take in Holiday Stuff beyond small doses at a time. I’ve never once thought of myself as a Scrooge, and yet I feel this inner ache in me to keep Christmas in a quieter way this year—less Pinteresty, less gumdroppy, and more of an acknowledgement that December 25, for all intents and purposes, is an ordinary day where we just so happen to thank God for a very unordinary event in history.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the flavored coffee drinks and Elf, and I’m not one to shy away from Christmas music. But the past few days, I’ve been quite thankful for my plain, black coffee that greets me like an old friend each morning, and the “regular” music in my earbuds when I need a break from happy elves.

Because friends, the everyday is sacred. Don’t forget that. Enjoy the holiday season, but don’t stress out about it because you feel like you have to make it special. Life is already chock full of the daily beautiful. It’s already special.

This quote from Paul Stevens has been rattling around in my head lately—maybe you need this reminder right now, too: “Earth is crammed with heaven, and heaven (when we finally get there) will be crammed with Earth. Nothing wasted. Nothing lost. Nothing secular. Nothing absurd…. All are grist for the mill of a down-to-earth spirituality.”

Savor the festive season, yes. But don’t force it into this pre-made shape called A Very Special Holiday and lose sight over the loveliness that all of life, even in its non-holidayness, is crammed with heaven. There is glory in the grist.

Earth is crammed with heaven...

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  1. Ann

    Great advice and perfect timing. So far this holiday season I have one decoration up, won’t do the bulk of it until late next week but most of that will be a fraction of what I usually do because I want to simplify things. So we’ll have a tree, some decorations, and our elf will come out a week before Christmas, or maybe the weekend before. Or maybe not at all.

  2. Johanna

    This is so true! I am finding that while a slower holiday was a bit “forced” on me because we moved to another country in September (Scotland), and we are expecting a baby any day, I have really, really enjoyed this season. I don’t feel stressed about doing too much because we still don’t know a lot of people here, and with a baby everything is being kept to a minimum.

    I have enjoyed all the special added touches of Christmas, but I have also loved the “normalness” of a slower season….

    • Tsh

      Yes! Oddly enough, when I pare down, I tend to enjoy the holiday-ish things we DO keep.

  3. Steph

    I find anytime there’s pressure to make something special, everyone gets stressed out and there’s no enjoyment. Therefore, I try hard to add bits of celebration into our daily rhythm rather than completely upend our lives to celebrate Advent.

  4. Caroline Starr Rose

    Thank you for this. Reminds me of my favorite quote of all time:

    “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
    ― Frederick Buechner

    • Tsh

      I love that, Caroline. And I love Buechner, too.

  5. Kanae

    “The everyday is sacred”
    This is so true and I have to admit that I do forget that sometimes. Thank you for the reminder.

  6. Alysa

    I feel like Pinterest craziness hit its peak last year and many of us are stepping back from it all this year. I’m with you on keeping it simple. We’re trying to settle in and just enjoy the twinkly lights and the quiet. It’s nice.

  7. Sarah Dunning Park

    What a good word this is. Thanks, Tsh. 🙂

  8. Robyn

    Love it! Thanks!

  9. Tanya

    Great advice right now. I was just thinking how nice it would be tojust have a simle holiday season without all the stress. I think I will try my best to lower my expectations just a bit so I can accomplish just that.

  10. Suzie

    Thanks. What a great post and amazing quote.

  11. Sally

    Thank you for this. I love your inspirational posts for the upcoming weeks.

  12. Meredith

    Thank you thank you. After “failing” to bring my 3-year-old to the local Christmas parade, not doing anything beyond a wreath for Advent, and missing St. Nick’s day, I was feeling a bit down. This is always an extra busy time of year for our family since we are in academia and Advent coincides with the end of the semester and an avalanche of grading. So I guess much of our holiday season is the everyday routine plus extra work. I appreciate the reminder that it’s ok to not be 100% holiday from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

  13. Bonnie

    I am feeling the very same way. No decorating done, no gifts bought, no desire to shop…and yet I’m okay with it. We all have too much, try to do too much, spend too much. I’m really happy removing myself from most of it.

  14. Kerry

    I was just thinking this today when I didn’t really feel like hitting play on the pandora Christmas station. I was thinking to myself, “you don’t have to listen to Christmas music every day until Christmas for goodness sake!” 😉 great post

  15. Melissa Camara Wilkins

    Every day is special, every day is sacred. Yes! Even the day that our newly-installed Christmas tree fell down (true story), even the day that we burned the Christmas cookies (that would be all of the days), even the day that we let the kids eat chocolate-almond bark for lunch because it’s a Christmas food (no comment).

    I actually have an easier time remembering this during the holidays–it’s round about February that I forget that even those days are sacred, even those moments are crammed with heaven. I want my holiday-ness to carry over, in some ways. Not the tinsel-y parts, just the spiritually awake parts.

  16. Grace

    “Down-to-earth spirituality” – I like that.

    This made me think of a quote from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, that has been a favorite of mine for a long time:

    “Earth’s crammed with heaven & every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

    I want to be a better “see-er” in the everyday, and put less pressure on the big moments.

  17. Lisa

    Oh yes! Fantastic post! It is so important to rejoice and celebrate in the ordinary, every day life. I really needed this post today.

  18. Andrea

    Love your words. We are doing it simple. We are still doing advent, but taking your advice from another year, we simply put things on it that we were already planning on doing. Like yesterday was “buy stuff to make treats”. Today we will make (the very simple) treats. But for some reason pulling it out of the calendar makes it so much more exciting. The kids enjoyed helping me buy the ingredients, and I did, too. Which is saying a lot as I have to take 3 kiddos with me to the store and usually it’s the one thing I dread doing with all three kids. It was just interesting to me how much we enjoyed a normal, everday/week kind of task 🙂

    And I LOVE that quote.

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